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The BBC apologised on Saturday night after failing to cut away from the European Championship match between Denmark and Finland when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field.
The corporation provoked fury from viewers for not returning to the studio as attempts were made to resuscitate Eriksen while his wife watched on in obvious distress on the touchline.
Some cited Ofcom guidelines which read: “Broadcasters should not take or broadcast footage or audio of people caught up in emergencies, victims of accidents or those suffering a personal tragedy, even in a public place, where that results in an infringement of privacy, unless it is warranted or the people concerned have given consent.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “Everyone at the BBC is hoping Christian Erikson makes a full recovery. We apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast.
“In stadium coverage is controlled by Uefa as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible.”
Australian network Optus Sport, another Euro 2020 rights holder, also apologised for showing the footage.
Richard Bayliss, its director of sport, posted on Twitter: “Apologies that distressing pictures were shown on @OptusSport. Such scenes are obviously the last thing you expect, and there is no handbook on handling that situation. It’s shocked everyone. The only thing that matters now is that Christian Eriksen is ok.”
When the BBC eventually did cut back to the studio, pundit Alex Scott fought back tears while discussing the harrowing incident, saying it had prompted her to tell her mother that she loved her.
Meanwhile, Fabrice Muamba led the prayers for Eriksen as the world of football united in hope that he would pull through.
Muamba, who in 2012 suffered a cardiac arrest and was “in effect dead” for 78 minutes after collapsing on the pitch playing for Bolton Wanderers in 2012, posted on Twitter: “Please God.”
Former midfielder Muamba, who never played again following his brush with death, was joined in prayer by an array of Euro 2020 players, including England’s Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho.
Tottenham Hotspur, where Eriksen spent seven years before joining Inter Milan in January last year, posted: “All of our thoughts are with Christian Eriksen and his family.”
Inter team-mate Ashley Young, wrote: “PLEASE BRO PLEASE.”
The Football Association said in a statement: “Our thoughts this evening are with Christian Eriksen and his family, and all connected with the Danish Football Union.”
Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, posted on Twitter: “Awful scenes at Denmark v Finland Euros game. Thoughts with Christian Eriksen and his family.”